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Beverly D'Angelo has made of career of slipping chameleon-like into a kaleidoscope of major diverse roles, including everything from Ellen Griswold in the National Lampoon Vacation films to Doris Vinyard in "American History X." She is taking on yet another new challenge, portraying the social conservative radio psychologist, Dr. Debra, on ABC's new comedy, "Talk to Me," her first role as a series regular.
The Columbus, Ohio, native could easily be described as a Renaissance woman, who is not only an actress, but a singer and artist. Ms. D'Angelo has had the opportunity to work with an outstanding list of directors and actors, including John Schlesinger, John Cassavetes, Neil Jordan, Milos Forman, Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood and Edward Norton. She has continued to choose provocative and interesting roles, recently starring in HBO's "Lansky," with Richard Dreyfuss; and the independent films, "Illuminata" with John Turturro, Christopher Walken and Susan Sarandon, and the soon-to-be-released "High Fidelity," with John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Although Ms. D'Angelo is, perhaps, best known for her big screen work with Chevy Chase in the National Lampoon Vacation films, as Patsy Cline in "Coal Miner's Daughter," for which she was honored with a Golden Globe nomination, and roles in "Annie Hall" and "Hair," she also has made many notable appearances on television. She starred as Kitty Menendez in "Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills," Johnnie Faye Boudreau in "Trial: The Price of Passion," Mary Hearn in "Hands of a Stranger," and Stella DuBois Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire," for which she received an Emmy nomination.
Ms. D'Angelo also received the 1995 Theatre World Award for her role in Sam Shepard's "Simpatico."
Few know, however, that the versatile actress actually had her sights set originally on becoming a singer. Actually, musical talent runs in her family. Her father was a big band musician, playing tuba with Tony Pastor and Rosemary Clooney. Her mother was an amateur violinist. Her brother, Jeff, plays bass in the Blue Martini jazz band, and Ms. D'Angelo still sings with the group.
Starting out at the American School in Florence, Italy, studying art, Ms. D'Angelo moved to Hollywood after returning to the U.S. and began in the animation department at Hanna-Barbera. But, she soon started traveling and singing in coffeehouses in the U.S. and Canada and became a studio singer in Toronto. She sang with Ronnie Hawkins, one of the original Rockabillies, and joined a series of bands. A member of the Canadian Repertory Company, she starred in a musical version of "Hamlet," which Gower Champion brought to Broadway. But after that, her singing career was put on hold when she auditioned and got a part in the Academy Award-winning film, "Annie Hall," and her big screen and television career took off.